Across the world, the contentious debate over the future of nuclear power continues apace. In East Asia, for instance, it emerged earlier this month that a nuclear plant in Taiwan may have been leaking radioactive water for three years. Meanwhile, Japan is still struggling to contain radioactive water from Fukushima; and in South Korea prosecutors are conducting a huge investigation into forged nuclear safety certificates.
The old controversies over nuclear reactors _ their dangers, benefits and costs _ remain at the fore. But as politicians, energy experts and the general public weigh the pros and cons, one key element in harnessing energy from the atom is being neglected.
That is, the link between the different methods of producing nuclear power and the nature _ and longevity _ of the radioactive waste that each method leaves behind. This in turn raises the issue of intergenerational justice: the technical choices we make today will determine the extent of the burden humanity will face in containing contaminated by-products for thousands of years.
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